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tv   The Stream  Al Jazeera  May 31, 2014 5:30pm-6:01pm EDT

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. >> hi. i am lisa fletcher. you are in the stream. identity thieves targeting your kids. why their information is so much more valuable than yours and which states are working for you and against you on this issue. and later, the price to pay for the 21st september tree classroom. how a student's click is being tracked by data collection agencies, 10 million data points a day per child. are the digital perks worth it?
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♪ rushing in is my co-host. josh, you are a dad. you have four kids. >> yes. >> is this something that you in your opinioning about? has this been on your radar, the idea of your kids getting their identity stolen. >> it wasn't until i saw the research. now as a parent, i am thinking: what do i need to do? why do so many people have so much data about my children i can't have access to? any data they shall, i should know what's out there about them. we are getting that from our communicatety as well. jeremy charles tweeted in and said i can't wrap my head around why they would want data on kids. but it's unacceptable to me. why is this legal? >> a few scenarios more frothed frightening than having your identity stolen. some reports estimate that one
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in forty kids under the aiming of 18 will have their identity stolen. criminals are using kids' social security numbers to get mortgages, cars and credit cards and often the young victims don't find out until years later, long after the damage has been done. just last month, in an effort to protect children from this growing threat, florida approved a landmark bill banning schools from collecting students' bu 0 metric data, actual physical data like in iris scan, finger and palm print. so far, florida is the only state to ban it in schools. few states have any laws related to the issue at all. where are the holes in the system where criminals are exploiting and is government aiding the activity in some cases? we have a great line-up out of 15ix arizona adam levin, chairman of identity therapy theft 911 that provides identity theft recover sources. on skype out of austin texas jamie may chief investigator of identity theft for all clear id,
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a business that uses advanced technology to provide consumers with protection from identity theft. and from bolder, colorado, criminal stole his son's identity. thank you to all of you for joining us. adam, a carnegie melon report says the attack rate on kids fraudulent use of their social security numbers is 51 times that of adults. why the high value ol kids social security numbers and who is doing the stealing? >> it's a high value because the child's social security number is really pristine. their credit report is pristine because they don't have one. kids wouldn't normally be checking their credit. parents historically haven't checked their chirp's credit. so, if you are an identity they've, you have a clear run in some cases for 15, 16 sfeernings years. >> who are the people most likely to steal your kids' identity. >> well, all sorts of folks can steal it. the truth is, there is a great deal of identity theft going on within the family unit.
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and so when you hear reports of possibly one out of 40 households having children who were victims of identity theft, we don't really know because when identity theft occurs within a family unit, very often, people are not willing to report it to the police because nobody wants to out a member of the family. >> you investigate identity theft for a living. what are some of the worst cases of child identity theft you have seen? >> some of the results or some of the activity we have seen has been shocking, so the activity will start when the child is very young, three, four, five and, as mentioned, it can go on for many years undetected because kids aren't out using information every day. we have seen cases in excess of a million dollars, one case, $800,000 recently. this included mortgageds, car loans, pretty much everything you can think of and so it's a really big mess to clean up when the child turns 17 to 18 and
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wants to start using their credit. >> jamie, a lot of parents use facebook to keep relatives informed of milestones in the child's life. how important is social media in this? this comes from a viewer actually who says, minors have to be kept away fromplasty social media. they usually tell the world a lot more than they are asked and people are looking. >> yeah. i think it's very realistic to say kids are not going to use it at all. so we always tell our parents it's important to talk to your kids about online privacy and security. so what's okay to share and what's not okay to share, you know, you should never share things like your date of birth, places where you are going to be for physical risks and social security numbers and that kind of information. so we see that. we always see a lot of information that's leaked through malicious intent, you know. there is cyber criminals that infect the home computee and get their hands on tax documents,
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health insurance documents. so, the home computer needs to be protected and then kids need to know to make wise choices about what they share online. >> adam, we mentioned at the top of the show. light talk a little bit about this yud of bio metric data because we are going past, you know, the data on a piece of paper and we are talking about physical characteristics that a areniquely identifying to an individual, the vein patterns in your hand or your finger print. how concerned are you that that is the next critical issue in terms of identity theft when security is breached from whom ever has this information. >> i think it's a serious issue because if you will note, not just with children but there are so many companies that are springing up now that are, you know, allowing you to track all of your different functions and then analyze it. meanwhile, they have all of the data and anything that can help an identity they've have one more piece or two or three more pieces of a puzzle especially as
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with we go to more sophisticated forms of identification like biometrics is a dangerous thing. i want to go back to something: when you were talking about different horror stories with kids, to hoe you how things can get out of hand, one of the people who works forwin of my companies said to her daughter when she was about 10 years old: no problem. you can go on this popular child site and do whatever you want to do. but we have two rules: never give them your name. never give them your address. and one day, her daughter came in and said, mom, i did a terrible thing. i gave them my full name. and i gave them my address but i promise i won't do it again. 10 years later, when she was in college, two pre-approved credit card offers showed up at of their home. the first one was in her name and the second one was her first name but then the last name was ain'ttellinya because that's the name she invented on that site.
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>> i know this happened to you and your son. >> yeah. well, what happened with him was very simple. i was listening to a radio show and this guy said, you know, if you can sign up with this identity theft company, they will do your minors for free. i did that. it came back, there was a hit on my son for plus or minus about $10,000. of course, he was 11, 12, 13 years owed at the time these accounts were taken out. i would have had no idea otherwise. >> so jamie some states allow parents now to put a freeze on their child's credit until they are 18. can you talk about a little bit of that as an anecdote for that and for those who live in statutes where they don't exist, which is most states? >> that can be a challenge. there is not nationwide protection available for kids, you know, for parents to protect their kids' information. so the way this all comes about is, you know, kids are issued a social
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security number usually at the hospital these days. but that doesn't automatically create their identity in the credit world. so, it's not until an attempt to open a new line of credit or to use that social security number occurs the first time that a credit file is created. so that leaves usually 18 years for the thief to use the child's social security number and create a credit profile. typically what we see is they will use the social security number with a different name and a different date of birth and create the synthetic identity. so the states that are allowing payments to kind of beat the criminals to the punch and create a credit file with the accurate information and freeze it, lock it down, you know, that does seem to be a an effective way at stopping criminals before they can get started with the child's information. but again, you know, you s utah has something. if you are not unfortunate enough to live in one of those statestion there are other states proposing legislation.
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the ftc put out some recommendations that said you could contact the credit bureaus and ask them to run a manual scan that is supposed to require them to check for just the social security number. >> may not do the trick. we also have the free scan mr. mcnulty references available on our website. >> we have a tweet from our audience from identity mate and it gives three suggestions: freeze the child's credit, require an adult approval for child transactions and review all minor credit reports before they turn bo adults. earl, i am curious with you, how difficult was it for you to straighten out the situation with your son? >> that's a great question. and actually, all clear id who jamie works for. they were phenomenal when i contacted them about the whole then, they -- i documented all of the information that i had and then they sent it, and they took care of it all on their end. he was unfortunate. it was, you know, a smaller amount, certainly not some of the horror stories that sound
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awful. they took care of it. thumbs up to all clear id on that. so it was actually very -- we got the letters as they came in the last six months or so saying that the accounts had been cleared and especially isn't my son is going off to college this fall was a big deal. >> thank you. >> earl, real quick, how are you protecting the identity of your own kids? >> well, we still do the sign-up with this scan for the all clear id for the kids just to make sure and like you heard at the top of the show, we had a great conversation with our kids to say, you've got to protect your information. you can't be buying things online without mom or dad taking a look. and, you know, it turned out to be a good learning lesson for all of us. >> yeah. >> it's a conversation. adam levin, coming back in our next segment. thank you very much to jamie may and macnulte. so are schools bartering personal information in exchange more more advanced technology.
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some education tech firms are scooping up cross to 10 million unique data points per child per day. is it worth it? real reporting that brings you the world. >> this is a pretty dangerous trip. >> security in beirut is tight. >> more reporters. >> they don't have the resources to take the fight to al shabaab. >> more bureaus, more stories. >> this is where the typhoon came ashore. giving you a real global perspective like no other can. >> al jazeera, nairobi. >> on the turkey-syria border. >> venezuela. >> beijing. >> kabul. >> hong kong. >> ukraine. >> the artic. real reporting from around the world. this is what we do. al jazeera america.
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director of federal relations for the american association of state colleges and universities, thank you for joining us. barmak, when we enroll our kids in school, we voluntarily give the districts a lot of data on them. is that information shared? >> increasingly, it is. historically, schools have been the main custodians of incredibly private information.
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in general they have done a fabulous job of connecting that information. it's a little ironic that the secretary was speaking about privacy because it was husband department of education that wrote the federal privacy rules. maybe those are more allowable to share data. so, yes, information is, in fact, reaching out of schools and many schools simply don't know. >> where is the information going? is it anywhere that would be alarming to a parent? >> well, you know, look. i believe education technology holds all kind of promise. i certainly believe people intend to use it for he hadfying purposes. but the challenge here is that the consent of parents is not being factored in. it ought to be alamming because the information is being copied into longitudenal and permanent
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data basis that may be repurposed where you contribute the information for one reason and subsequent to that other uses become possible and the entity proceeds with those purposes. >> so we have something from one of our followers here, joel polunesky says parents and kids should own the data but schools, school district should use it to assess school performance and vendors to manage their services. if kids and parents owned the data tus point, do parents know when the data about their children is being shared with outside vendors? >> sure. so first of all, thank you for having me here and addressing this topic. it's timely because we are having this data conversation in all aspects of our life, not just in education. and, you know, schools in districts for decades have been collecting data about their students and they need to in order to help them learn, in order to give feedback to parents. and they have done a really good job of protecting privacy and
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security. the education technology that you discussed earlier typically is not part of what we call the education record. and that's what our federal student privacy laws that barmack referenced, tests, scores, grades, what school they are enrolled in, who their teacher is are all of the things you would expect a district to collect so they can manage the system, get buses to homes on time, get lunches served and provide the right curriculum and tools and ieps for the kids that need them. parents cannot own the responsibility for privacy. and as our technology changes, they can be expected to understand all of the risk that's involved every year. but they do need to be empowered to ask the right questions of their school. >> paige, i am not following you. do parents have the right to kids' data. >> absolutely. >> if information is being collected on my child, do i have a right to see it? >> absolutely. >> we said earlier 10 million points of data per day per kid,
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is there a barrier to parents knowing what kids are? >> the barrier is half the time they have no idea what the data is that's being collected. i think it's wonderful in terms of data sharing and data gathering. but i think one of the things we really have to think about in the future, as we watch with great alarm, as the number of breaches grow in educational institutions exactly how that data is being protected and how that protection is evolving and, also, the rate for parents to be able to opt their children out in certain circumstances. >> paige, how is the data protected? >> well, there are systems at the district level and at the state level. again, that goes back to the data that they collect. i think what you are referring to when you talk about the 10 million data bites is the data that's collected when schools choose to use online services. google apps for education, e ed moto, goodmail where data is collected. >> that's not data that schools and districts and states collect and maintain and keep private
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and secure. >> that's absolutely where our states and districts need to do more work to ensure privacy. >> essentially, they are giving, if nothing else, a de facto right to these companies to have control of this data if the school is not maintaining the data on the kids, somebody is. it's through a contract, the district is obligated to spell out the terms of the data use in the contract, itself. we do know that most districts, we have 15,000. most of them don't have the legal and technical capacity tu to do really well-written and tight contracts for those services. we have seen a lot of states start to step up to consider how could they better support their lower capacity districts to get good solid contracts in place that really secure, that ensure privacy of student date. >> we know you out of all of the districts that engage and contrast with this, 7% of them write into the contract that these companies are not allowed to sell the information. from an outsider's spur sp perspecti
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perspective, that seems like a stunning number. >> it is stunning. i totally disagree with paige's rather optimistic read on what's going on here. first of all, the schools, themselves, don't quite understand what they are saying "yes" to. so in many cases, they receive help they would otherwise have to pay for. they get it for quote, unquote free. but, in fact, they are paying for it with their students' privacy rights. >> that's for starters. secondly, in the abstract, it's easy to assert that parents have ownership and control, but as adam pointed out, if you don't know where the data resides, if you don't know how they are being repurposed, what meaning does it have to give you an abstract right to your child's information? now, paige's organization, again, with the best of intentions for purposes of improving education, has advocated for broad data sharing and i don't okbject to that. my only point here is it should be the parents, not a by accurate, not a school official,
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who makes the decision to forward highly sensitive information to a third party for reasons that may not necessarily comport with parental description. >> you know, barmak, you echoed the views of one of our viewers, joy says that that's why the get anything for free on the web is all about data. people can't seem to grasp this concept. i am curious to hear what you think about barmak's point. should the parents know if information about their child is leaving the can schoolhouse >> it's the kind of data that our enstitutions are collecting and are spibl for. there are clear guidelines around what that data is and how it can be shared and it can -- the personally identifiable unless can only be shared in extremely limited circumstances. it's very difficult to share data. offices the federal student privacy law that covers that. >> doesn't cover this education technology data.
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the federal student privacy law is clear that organizations when that data is shared, they cannot use it for commercial gain. they cannot use it to market it. they cannot sell it. and it will be destroyed as soon as the purposes of the contract are over. when you get to this education technology data that's being driven, barmak is absolutely right. we don't understand well enough, particularly at the school and the district level, where these barrie barriers. where with can he contract? what kind of leverage do peeve? i think again there is a role for the state to come in to be thoughtful about: how do we help these people on the ground? through training? through model comforts and policies? through stronger state laws that hold our vendors accountable? >> page we have about a minute left. we are talking about how to fix it, make it safer, more secure. what are the benefits to this data for kids in the schools? >> absolutely. so data matters. we use it in all aspects of our life. i think health is a wonderful example especially for a parent. with he get the routine well baby check-ups, diagnostics and we value this appear based upon
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data is your child on track for healthy adulthood? parents need that information about their kids. principals, teachers, school board members, they need information about their systems, their schools and their choices so they can make better decisions on behalf of their kids. right now, by not providing them good, solid information in a useful way, we are tying their hands behind their backs. >> thanks to our guest, paige, barmak. we speak to a mom. shocking results. her story next.
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♪ welcome back. we are discussing the math collection of personat data from kids in school. joining us is karen sprawl whoo administration to prevent them from collecting his health data information. karen, thanks for joining us. tell us what happened. >> so, back in 2011, on a parent blog, i heard about this deal that a nonprofit foundation that came out was doing a deal with new york state and nine other states to collect and store all of our children's identifiable school data. >> including health information? >> everything. everything. and in my particular case, my son received specialized services as a schulte with an iep. he has adhd. and as a -- his medical reports are centrally -- i mean, his school records are essentially
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his medical records. so i was ex trimly alarmed when i heard about this. >> i am assuming they would say that this can create a more customized ram on to your son, lead to a better educational experience. why were you concerned about them having that data? >> my main concern is that parents were left out of the equation of knowing what this was about. so, a parents being concerned about protecting our children's data and sensitive identifiable information, we went to our leanly late aretos and asked them to draft laws that will protect us and keep parents in the loop of notification and consent of when information is being served -- i'm sorry -- shared to different vendors. >> that seems like a major problem that they are not including the parents in the conversation. i think that's been a theme of today's, where the parents should be included in this decision. karen, i would like to know: what were your concerns for your son is? what would be the negative implications of that kind of information being known about them? >> well, first of all, the thing
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that i was most concerned, alarmed about is the fact that there was no transparency in this deal. there was no notification to patients as you would. there was no consent or anything as in any other things that concerns my son, i would sign a release? >> know what was being released, to whom and i would assess whether this person needed to know what different information. like, for instance, in his school, the nurse gets information that the teacher does he want necessarily have to have. the guidance counselor may get information the principal doesn't have. and i am aware of these things. these are people that i see and i am dealing with every day and as a parent, you know, who overseas and protection privacy ownership of his privacy, i get to assess and decide who has what information based upon need. >> karen, this topic is creating deep frustration among parents. there was a dad in nevada who asked to see the records of his kids, his four kids. he was told it would cost him $10,000 to view that
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information. you were successful in going against the school district and preventing the information about your son from being disseminated. what advice do you have to other parents? >> well, what i would say is that, you know, you have to be vigilant and very, very pro-active about what information is being shared and for what purposes and who is it being shared with? whenever i get forms at home, i am always going straight into the office to inquire what information is being released, who it's being released to and those types of things. it's, i think it's i mperativim in my case, my son's school records are essentially his medical records. anywhere else, i would be signing releases for any of this information to be shared with anybody. >> absolutely. key here, be a vig leapt parent. thanks to karen sprowal and all of our guests. until next time, we will see you online. ♪
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